FN America is pleased to announce that NATO is standardizing the FN 5.7x28mm cartridge. The 5.7mm NATO cartridge will join ranks with the popular and widely used 5.56mm, 7.62mm, 9mm, and 12.7mm NATO cartridges.
“The caliber was designed in the late 1980s for use with the FN P90 and FN Five-Seven pistol,” FN said in the release. “With almost three decades of trusted use, the FN 5.7x28mm continues to leverage the groundbreaking design to improve range, accuracy and terminal performance from small arms.”
“As NATO adds the FN 5.7x28mm to their standard small caliber ammunition portfolio, FN proudly continues its long legacy of small arm innovation as it enhances service to civilians, law enforcement, and militaries across the globe,” the company stated.
“This new NATO standardization confirms FN Herstal’s leading position as a designer and manufacturer of small caliber weapon-ammunition systems,” FN said. “It also reinforces the company’s strategy and dedication to provide modern-day armed forces and security forces all across the world with the best performing and efficient small caliber ammunition concepts and designs.”
This does raise questions, including why 5.7mm, and why now? The simplest explanation is that there are enough NATO users that it only makes sense to go through the STANAG process and make the cartridge official.
Fans of 5.7x28mm would even argue that this is overdue. But could there be more to this decision?
Many military leaders are concerned about the growing availability of low-cost body armor, and while there are current and upcoming specialty cartridges that can defeat them, they’re mostly for intermediate cartridges and more powerful rifle cartridges.
One possibility is that some militaries are looking back at the 5.7x28mm cartridge, which was designed around defeating some body armors. While body armor technology has improved since the invention of the 5.7mm cartridge, so have projectile designs, which could make it much more relevant today.
This is especially true with the recent resurgence in submachine gun use by many armed forces. As a handgun round, 5.7mm loses some of its effectiveness, but for its original use, in personal defense weapons like the P90, it becomes much more impressive.
In any case, this should mean increased production of the sometimes hard-to-find, sometimes a little expensive cartridge, and that’s always a good thing.
Especially with other companies starting to produce firearms chambered for the cartridge. Notably, both Keltec and Ruger recently launched conventional and large-format pistols chambered for 5.7x28mm.
Do you think this is a sign of new things to come in 5.7x28mm NATO? Or is this an outstanding confirmation of the cartridge’s obvious excellence? Let us know in the comments!